Living A Good, Simple Life

Be at One.

Breathe in goodness, exhale worry.

Take your time, Walk as much as you can.

She's Got Beauty.

Treasure the details, a flower, a bird, a snowflake, a child’s smile.

Believe in whatever God or Spirit, Nature or Person you Love;

it is not for us to judge but to be compassionate and open-minded.

Keep good thoughts in your heart and soul.

Loving kindness to other people. It, karma, will come around.

Never be defined by others, especially those who smile to your face and turn around to stab you.

Move away from mean people.

Liars are everyone’s enemies.

Have the courage of your convictions, hold on tight to your values, your beliefs.

Try not to be influenced by outside people and know that all of us make mistakes.

Forgive yourself and others equally.

Oh how I love this sweet little girl

 

I need to listen directly inside myself, to follow my voice within, for every decision.

Stop, listen to your Heart, your Soul, Nature, Intuition.

Be gracious and patient, control your temper, monitor your mood.

Be compassionate and giving and even when you feel you have nothing to give, keep giving.

Everybody has a story

Let your heart be open to give and to receive.

Offer only what you have,

Honesty in its purest form.

Love.

 

 

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Learning To Love Lexi

Lexi – photo by author

After our family dog, Callie, died from cancer of the spleen from one moment to the next, I was heartbroken. We all were. This happened shortly after her           tenth birthday party, a tradition in our home, mocked by the boys but revered by the girls. This year, being her BIG birthday, even the boys made an appearance and I was so happy. I even bought the number 10 candles and put them in her special mushy dog food that we gave her once a year as a treat. Little did we know it would be her last birthday and that she would die shortly thereafter. My son took me aside after she died and said quietly “Really glad you had that birthday party, Mom, it was a good party.” Of course, I burst into tears but was grateful.

Of the four of us and our neighbors, I was the most emotional; I’m always the most emotional. I couldn’t walk around our small, cozy house without crying. It was too quiet in the house, no one followed me or greeted me at the door, no one loved me like Callie did and I missed her desperately. I grieved intensely  for a while and then decided I was the type of person who needed a dog. Against the lectures of my family, I started visiting animal shelters on my own, with my husband and with my friend, Sarah.

After months of visiting, holding, petting, I hadn’t found the right dog for us. I had been told to adopt an older animal (and next time I really will) but at this point I didn’t want to miss a minute of a puppy’s young life. I looked at older dogs but not seriously. I was happy just being near dogs and puppies until one day, my thirtieth trip to an animal shelter but the second trip to the North Shore Animal League, my friend Sarah and I walked in and my eyes met the sleepy eyes of a rust colored puppy, curled up in a circle, sleeping. I had just met MY dog. We fell in love. I asked to see her, this “German Shepard Mix” and soon I was led to an inside room and she was in my lap, all kisses and hugs and sleepy sweetness. When another woman asked me if I was taking that dog, I immediately said “Yes, this was MY dog” and so she became mine. My friend Sarah and I filled out the papers, (I tell the dog that she has two mommies) and I called my husband and said “Honey, it’s a girl!”

I named her Lexi (were both names from my favorite show Grey’s Anatomy?) and I sat in the back seat, Lexi sleeping in my lap, while Sarah drove us home ever so carefully to avoid the huge pot holes in the road. I did not substitute Lexi for Callie, it was a different love, a new love, a love I had to grow into and an important lesson to learn. There are no two loves alike in this world. You can love equally but not exactly alike. This applies to every type of love there is, it’s a huge life lesson.

I admit, I had forgotten what having a puppy was like, after all, I was ten years older now and that makes a big difference. I think my puppy years are behind me and while I know I will always be a “dog person” I can see adopting an older dog in the future. But, what was most different were their personalities, Callie was a lap dog, a fearful dog, terrified of being in cars, scared of people, perhaps abused before she came to us. She liked nothing better than to stay at home in her comfort zone, yet she was perfectly attuned to my feelings. Lexi, wild thing, crazy dog, likes nothing better than to hop in the back seat and go for a ride, has the strength of a bull, loves to play, jump and go places and hasn’t shown a lot of tenderness (yet.) She’s fun and playful and but when I fell on the ground once, she didn’t leave me, I even saw concern in her eyes and gratitude in mine. Once she’s through her puppy phase I’m hoping she will settle down and be a really great dog. Actually, I’m counting on it.

Plinky Prompt: What Stresses You Out The Most

    • So Stressful!
    • “You Worry Too Much” DUH.
      stress I stress myself out by worrying. Worrying about my kids, my husband, my dog, my mother, my sister, my friends, victims I don’t know and I worry about myself. I worry about sickness, death, and the flavor of the week on the news i.e. terrible shootings. Worrying about worrying. I “pre-worry” when I have absolutely NO CONTROL over any outcome. In psychiatric terms it is called “anticipatory anxiety.” What good does that do me? IT DOESN’T DO A DARN THING. Yes, I know this but sometimes it’s hard to switch the channel. I am too sensitive in both a good way and a bad. I am incredibly sensitive to others, compassionate and intuitive at the same time I take on other people’s issues to heart and feel for others. A lot. I have tried to change a million times with no luck. I have heard “You are too sensitive” so many times I could scream (especially when it is said by totally insensitive people) I KNOW THAT, I DID NOT CHOOSE TO BE THIS WAY. So, give me a break. I do deep breathing, I’ve tried all the tricks but this is who I am. PLEASE, TRY TO BE understanding, know I worry because I love and I care. Maybe I care too much but don’t you think that’s better than not caring at all? If I could be a cold-hearted, non-worrying-bitch I’d have a much easier life. Sorry, no can do. I worry. I care. And that’s okay.
    • Previous Answer

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Plinky: Are You A CAT, DOG or Other Person?

  • Cat Lady? Not This Chick!
  • Meet Lexi
  • WOOF!!!
    I am totally, completely, officially and enthusiastically a DOG person. I had a cat when I was growing up and I did love her however I became very allergic to cats. Besides, cats are too aloof and independent for me. I got my first dog (from an animal shelter) ten years ago and I loved her with all my heart. She was everything you could want in a dog and more: affectionate, beautiful, sweet, gave unconditional love, a lap dog and truly my best friend. She was a dog with a soul. She sensed my emotions and when my dad passed away she would always be near me, licking up my tears.
    When Callie, died abruptly from cancer of the spleen exactly ten years later I was heartbroken. I never thought I would get over it, she was the best, most beautiful dog ever, her black and white tail was like a long paint brush always sweeping from left to right.
    I didn’t like my life without a dog so I started going to animal shelters a couple of months after she died. Against my husband’s better judgment to get an older dog, I fell in love with a tiny, brown short-haired puppy. As soon as I saw her I knew I had to adopt her. I named her Lexi. She is barely 6 months old now and she is a completely different dog but I love her so much. Lexi is playful and more daring and while she is not as affectionate as my first dog was, when she wags her little upright tale, and stands at the window when I leave, I know she loves me too.

Tired, Tired, Tired

(106/365) Tired but can't sleep

(106/365) Tired but can’t sleep (Photo credit: Sarah G…)

I can’t watch the news anymore; even when I just glance at the news on the computer, I know the world is a scary place, a terrible place.  The fear is in my stomach first, like raw clenching tentacles and the tightness inside me like an army of multi-colored stretched rubber bands.  I feel anxious, I see it reflected in my own eyes, fear, insecurity, doubt. Yes, the world is a bad place and many dreadful things happen. I also take other people’s pain and clutch it in my arms, like a hug surrounding a wounded child.

I can list a number of my most awful days in a second, like rapid-fire stock market trading but when I try to conjure up incredibly good days, I have to think, hard. The usual, marriage and childbirth come up, of course, but really, what was the last golden day I had that was out of the ordinary?  I stop to think. Tonight, I can’t come up with anything; my brain has been taken over by fear and pain.

I know I am too sensitive but it sticks with me like a second skin; sometimes I invent future nightmares. I know I shouldn’t do that and I try to stop myself  but there are times when I feel overwhelmed. It passes, I know, but while it happens, I forget.

My legs, from Fibromyalgia tonight are aching, painful, much more than usual. Fibromyalgia is eating up my world slowly but aggressively. New symptoms, tingling and numbness of my hands and feet, leg pain, imbalance, nerve pain too. It wasn’t supposed to get worse, that’s what the doctor told me, or did I dream that? I knew it wouldn’t get better and I accepted that easily but today is so much more painful than other days. I want the pain to end and drown in sleep. Tonight, I want to curl up and try to find a comfortable position and just lay here in the dark. I asked my husband to come upstairs to kiss me good-night, I haven’t done that in many years; his tender kiss on my forehead reassuring.

I don’t want conversation or to watch television, I don’t want to read a morbid book or even a funny book and I don’t want to listen to music which usually calms my soul. I just want to stay still in the dark and breathe evenly and not hurt. This pain is severe; I never take pain medication but tonight I may have to grope for a pill from an outdated prescription.  I don’t really want to take it, it’s a false reading of tortured limbs but tonight, but tonight I need a break.

A break from physical and emotional pain, let me lie here and fall asleep with my dog sleeping on my foot and my warm diet root beer by my side. Let me forget the worry and the fear and the pain. “I don’t want to fight,” I said, to my sister online; I don’t want to waste the little energy I have on our frequent disagreements. Fighting is not the answer and not the solution. This stress on me is unnecessary and I want it to end, there is no room in my life for painful interactions. Whatever it takes, I promise to try to do it because I want peace between us, even if sometimes, it is artificial.

Let me stay in my little corner tonight, huddled on one side and let me sleep, just let me sleep.

I’d Be Lost Without You

2008-10-22 - 010 - Kona, Hawaii, snorkeling, f...

Image by cfinke via Flickr

Every morning I am greeted with a smile, a hug and a freshly brewed cup of coffee. He even sniffs the milk before he pours, knowing I have a super-sensitive nose and will gag if I even think something has gone sour. Today there was a small fruit cup with blueberries, strawberries and cantaloupe, sliced with love from a steady, beautiful hand. My hands shake so he carries the full cup of coffee to me, so I don’t feel bad and so there will be no spills on our fake linoleum Spanish tiles in the kitchen. In the middle of the night our feet or hands search for each other for reassurance and comfort. I don’t even mind when he snores loudly, though I do punch him lightly in the arm. Without protest he turns over. I used to say “turn over” but with our marriage code I have shortened the phrase to “apple” as in apple turnover and he knows exactly what I mean.

We have our own language, he and I, built on twenty-five years of togetherness, love and friendship. We are each others’ best friend.  I am not saying we have always had the perfect marriage because no marriage is perfect. We have had our rough years, our tough times but we struggle through it together, knowing that home is not just a place but a feeling. I sat through a Gordon Lightfoot concert for him, he came to see Neil Diamond for me. Sometimes he blurt things out that are supposed to be secret; sometimes I reveal my feelings when I shouldn’t. Sam Adams for him, Diet Coke for me. His Scotch is my Yoo-hoo, his dark chocolate is my milk chocolate.

I want our children to see that our marriage is strong, loving, yet not without flaws. I want them to know that marriage, like any relationship, needs work, a strong commitment and loving companionship. We help each other when difficult situations arise, and in life, they always do. When we were first married, we went through the infertility process together; it breaks many couples apart yet it brought us closer together. We share pain and joy, I am more emotional, he is more practical. We balance each other like a delicate balancing toy, sometimes tipping over, always able to right itself to startling precision.We try to laugh even during hard times. He has taught me to be less pessimistic; I have taught him that it is okay to be vulnerable.

Through the 25 years of our relationship we have grown closer together even after we have grown apart. He likes skiing, I like sunshine, he plays racquetball, I need to write. For a little while we thought it was odd that we did not share activities in common but we adjusted and compromised. We trust each other so that if he wants to go skiing, he goes with a friend. If I need sunshine in the middle of a gray, cold winter, I have flown to Florida for a few days. We can be independent of each other yet always happy to reconnect. We share the joy of traveling together, France, Australia, Amsterdam,  Aruba, Rhode Island. We held hands when we snorkeling on our engagement trip in Hawaii, my most favorite memory. While he would prefer to stomp through old ruins, I would rather walk on the beach finding seashells; we compromise.

He is an atheist, I believe in G-d. We have two amazing children, a boy, 18 and a girl, 16. We share their triumphs and their pain; we help each other deal with our ever-changing reality. If the children attack us, as teenagers often do, we immediately look at each other. The silent language of marriage is a subtle one, but we speak it fluently.

I fear the day that one of us is left alone. I pray it won’t be for a very long time yet thinking about it frightens me. He is the one person that I trust with my life, that I can count on without question. He feels the same way about me. We know the best and the worst of each other and accept and acknowledge both. If I had to, I know deep down, that I could survive without him; I just don’t want to.

A Bullet Through Two Hearts

I can almost feel the bullet wound, its intense fire, its lingering pain; orange flames dancing like maniacs with a backdrop of blackness.  Like a ballet of thunder, darkness and electricity gliding on the stage with utter synchronicity, like two dogs fighting or birds flying.  Even though I wasn’t hurt physically it feels like I have been.

When someone tells you what they really, really want? Listen.

My mother encouraged me to go away with my family for the holidays. The fact that I even asked her, shocks most people. That’s what happens when one tries to be courteous and polite. She assured me, again and again that I deserved to go and be with my family after we suffered through two horrible years of sickness, marital discord and unemployment, some of which still exist.

We went away for a few days and had a great time and came back home;  she changed her mind. What?  Disagreements, misunderstandings and fights ensued.  I did not make a mistake to go away with my family; we needed this time together. I just behaved differently than I used to behave and did what I wanted to do for my family.

So, instead of forgetting the past and starting anew, albeit differently, my mother sits at home and, most probably, fumes at me and has been, hurt, sad, angry and disgusted.  We both feel the same way about each other. But, I will not let that stop my life from going on, but for pride’s sake, she is hurting herself.  I won’t forget the things she said to me, but I can forgive and move on. Life is too short to be bitter or resentful. If it’s not working this way, try another. Silence is said to be golden, but it isn’t. More likely, it eats away at you  and makes things worse.

I’ve learned the following things. Don’t say yes if you are not sure. Don’t push your family away because you want them closer. Saying mean things to hurt people on purpose is inexcusable but happens. Forgiveness and compassion are two sentiments that really count.

I continue my days which are usually fine, but at night, before I go to sleep, I feel something unsettling in my stomach, twinges that are like nagging little reminders that something is not quite right.  I know that there are two people who love each other but cannot find their way back to a common ground.

Let things go from your heart, don’t keep grudges and reiterate and retell all your feelings and mistakes. People who love each other will hurt each other sometimes. Stop thinking of all the negative things and embrace compassion and forgiveness.

It will be then and only then, that your heart will begin to heal.